February 2012

The Process

In Which an Artist Discusses Making a Particular Work

Brian DeGraw, The Thinker

Brian DeGraw mashes up culture. His artwork dances through a spate of forms and references, reflecting a city-dweller's uneasy relationship with pervasive mass media. His finely drafted drawings depict iconic figures such as Osama bin Laden and Bob Dylan, often merged together kaleidoscopically, and his assemblages appropriate music detritus in ways that recall Christian Marclay—installations of record sleeves, framed collections of song requests DeGraw received while DJing. DeGraw is known as a musician, spinning international urban tracks in New York clubs, and playing his eclectic brew of synths, samples, and drum pads with the psych-jam band Gang Gang Dance. I spoke to him about his sculpture The Thinker, which recently showed at the James Fuentes gallery, in Manhattan.

–Ross Simonini

THE BELIEVER: Is that Monopoly money on the pedestal?

BRIAN DEGRAW: Yes, it is. All ones.

BLVR: What were your first steps in making this piece?

BD: The first step was to find a fabricator to do a replica of Rodin's Thinker. I needed the left arm of the sculpture to be flipped around from the original, though with the palm turned upright, and that proved very expensive on the fabricator's end. So I just had them make a version of the original and then I chopped the arm off, cast my own arm in the desired position, and attached that.

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